Heian Sandan

Translation: Peaceful Mind (Level 3)

# Moves: 21

Belt Level:   

Heian Sandan performed by Osaka Sensei


Some of the Key Moves

Kiba-dachi (horse stance)

Heisoku-dachi (attention stance)

Empi-uke (elbow block)

Yori-ashi (shifting)

Fumikomi (stomping step)

Uchi-uke/Gedan-bari (simultaneous inside and down block)

Tate-uraken (vertical backfist)


The third kata of the Heian series is a very strong one, requiring the student to learn several new techniques. It is challenging because it will test your ability to move smoothly through all 3 basic stances (front, back and side stance), while maintaining the same level and correct embusen (attack path) of the form. There are also new concepts introduced, such as simultaneous attack and defense, different timing, or movement by shifting (instead of stepping). Though difficult at first, this kata will strengthen your legs and help you develop focus. The strength of this kata also makes it a great choice for tournaments.

Some things to note:

When performing the simultaneous down/block inside block at the beginning of the kata, both arms MUST CROSS before completing the block (imagine cutting off 1 arm at the elbow with the opposite arm). This is done in heisoku-dachi, or “attention stance” where feet and toes are together.

Moving forward, take care to use the correct stances! Augmented block is in back-stance.Spear hand/pressing block is in front-stance. Spinning into hammer fist lands in side-stance and stepping punch is in front-stance.

Further, the hardest part of the kata may be the series of motions in side-stance. Do not stand up when moving forward – try to keep level! The knee is raised high (as if you were doing front kick), and is brought down with focus (fumikomi), while at the same time blocking with your elbow. Then quickly throw a vertical back-fist strike to the face.


Additional Info

Among many students, this is the most unpopular of the Heian Kata, but an essential one all the same, preparing the foundations for higher kata such as Tekki, Kanku-Dai and Jion. Although these concepts may at times be lost on the beginner, the principles this kata teaches are vital. You learn to control your centre of balance, to spin quickly and efficiently and to generate power through moving your body’s mass. Pay particular attention to these concepts when practicing Heian Sandan.

Read full article from The Shotokan Way

There are also new variations of this kata that have been changed from older styles:

Old Style

New Style

Tate-shuto, slow timing


Koko-uke, slow timing

Tate-shuto, quick timing

During the series of kiba dachi movements:

Mikazuki-geri (when moving forward)

During the series of kiba dachi movements:

Simply Fumikomi

During uchi-uke/gedan-barai:

heisoku-dachi, legs bent

During uchi-uke/gedan-barai:

heisoku-dachi, legs straight

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